Haydr Dutta

University of Pennsylvania , Class of 2026

Major: Health and Societies, Sociology

Haydr Dutta (they/them) is a rising Junior at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a BA in Health & Societies and Sociology. With a strong interest in Harm Reduction and Gender Development, their goal is to engage in meaningful research that informs healthcare policy and supports marginalized communities.

Currently, Haydr is involved in two remarkable projects. The first, guided by Dr. Deanna Wilson, addresses the escalating overdose deaths among Black Americans in Philadelphia. This research aims to understand barriers and facilitators to harm reduction access and adoption among hospitalized individuals who use drugs, with a focus on the impact of the intersections of race and substance-use-related stigma. The project also seeks to identify best practices for the equitable implementation of harm reduction and medication-assisted treatment (MOUD) services during hospitalization.

The second project, under the mentorship of Amy Hillier, focuses on developing and validating a parent-report screener to identify children aged 3-12 whose gender does not align with their sex assigned at birth. This project aims to create a brief instrument to facilitate the provision of evidence-based information and support, while also addressing geographic, political, and racial/ethnic barriers to gender-affirming care. This mixed-methods study involves an online survey with a large nationally representative sample of parents and interviews to explore parents’ attitudes about their child’s gender identity.

Outside of their research, Haydr serves as the Chair for the Trans/Nonbinary Committee at UPenn’s LGBT Center, facilitating events during Trans Week of Visibility such as Trans Speed-Friending. They also volunteer with the Student Harm Reduction Coalition (SHaRC), where they put together overdose prevention kits and distribute harm reduction supplies.

Previously, Haydr interned at Child Rights and You (CRY) in Bangalore, leading a team to develop a program increasing functional literacy and numeracy. They conducted research, visited primary schools and Anganwadis, and successfully pitched the program, which was approved for pilot implementation in South India. Additionally, they served as a First Year Coordinator for the Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE), creating programs to educate incoming students about gender equity, feminism, sexuality, race, and class.

In their free time, Haydr enjoys basking in the sun and aims to climb trees over the summer while exploring Philadelphia. Their diverse skill set includes both qualitative and quantitative research, policy analysis, and leadership in various advocacy roles.